1 December 2022
The UK Brachycephalic Working Group (BWG) has committed to a five-year strategy to accelerate its work to improve the health and welfare of both current and future generations of flat-faced dogs.
Designed collaboratively by the group – whose members include veterinary, animal welfare and government organisations, academics and breed club representatives – the five-year strategy is based on a review of the BWG’s efforts since its launch in 2016, and what more needs to be done to increase impact, with insights offered from several stakeholders, both within and outside of the group.
The five-year strategy outlines actions required from the group as a whole and via individual members until 2025, as well as focusing on changing wider public attitudes to extreme conformations in brachycephalic dogs. It identifies three core challenges:
- Dramatically reducing numbers and popularity of dogs with brachycephaly
- Promoting a more moderate and healthier phenotype of the remaining dogs with brachycephaly
- Reducing the negative impacts of brachycephaly on the current generations of flat-faced dogs
As well as outlining the principles which underpin the strategy, the document lays out a series of aspirations and actions within each challenge, clearly specifying how the BWG will measure impact. Some of the actions committed include working to prevent the inappropriate use of imagery of brachycephalic dogs in advertising, promoting relevant health testing schemes and sharing research with breeders and would-be owners, alongside developing and promoting a Brachycephalic Health Assessment veterinary consultation framework.
Dr Dan O’Neill, chair of BWG commented: “BWG understands that the serious health problems associated with the flat-faced body shape can cause many dogs to suffer and considers that the health and welfare problems linked to breeding for a flat face are one of the UK’s leading canine welfare priorities. This new strategy lays out a plan to redress many of these issues and we call on everybody to ‘Stop and think before buying a flat-faced dog’.”
The full strategy document and an infographic outlining its core aims is available at: www.ukbwg.org.uk/?page_id=801